A medical worker prepares to inoculate a colleague with a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine at the Urban Primary Health Centre in Kolkata on January 16, 2021. | Representational image
A medical worker prepares to inoculate a colleague with a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine at the Urban Primary Health Centre in Kolkata on January 16, 2021. | Representational image
Photo: AFP

India may soon have yet another COVID-19 vaccine joining the world's biggest inoculation drive. According to an Economic Times report, the Tata Group is in talks with Moderna to bring its vaccine to India. Tata Medical and Diagnostics, the group's healthcare venture has reportedly entered into preliminary talks with Moderna to bring the vaccine to India. The report also suggests that Tata might team up with ICMR to carry out clinical trials of the Moderna vaccine in India.

India began a massive vaccination drive a little more than a week ago, with two vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) having been used to innoculate more than a million people thus far. A third vaccine, by Zydus is currently undergoing Third Phase trials and dependent on the results, will soon join the vaccination efforts. India is also holding trials for Russia's Sputnik V.

Data released by Moderna in November last year had indicated that the vaccine had shown an efficacy rate of 94.5% in the third phase of trials. The announcement came about a week after Pfizer made a similar announcement, and by the end of the year the two vaccines were being used to inoculate people.

Codenamed mRNA-1273, the Moderna vaccine is also similar to Pfizer's offering in that it is an RNA vaccine. However, while the latter requires temperatures as low as minus 70° C to be stored, the Moderna vaccine can be stored in a freezer between -25°C and -15°C. According to the CDC, Moderna vaccine vials may be stored in the refrigerator between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F) for up to 30 days before vials are punctured. This in turn makes it easier for counties such as India to make use of the vaccine.

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